It has been not quite five weeks since John McCain announced the oh-so-fragile Sarah Palin as his runningmate. During that period, the McCain camp has displayed an impressive degree of flexibility in handling any unwelcome (i.e., non-adulatory) interest in the largely unknown and untested Alaska governor:

At first, the campaign smeared anyone asking questions about--or of--Palin as snotty, contemptuous elitists who disliked poor Sarah because she is a regular person. 

As that angle became exahausted, the campaign decided that, on second thought, anyone who doesn't love Sarah must be a raging sexist with no respect for the entire gender. 

But time moves on, and it seems that this week's approach will be to dismiss Palin's own screw-ups as the shameful product of "gotcha journalism"----even in instances when Palin is responding to a regular voter (i.e. not a reporter) asking a question at a campaign event, and even when she gamely tackles said question with great zest and specificity. No matter: Still gotcha journalism.

Whew. Team McCain is burning through the list of groups to blame at an alarming clip. At this rate, with five weeks left to go, they are at serious risk of running out of ways to paint Palin as the victim of some overarching prejudice. Religious persecution is still available for use, as is the well-documented bias against people who wear glasses. But those two excuses cannot possibly hold all the way through October. Anyone care to venture some more creative cards for them to play?

--Michelle Cottle